From: The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, Vol. X, No. 4. (December 1909).
Peter Skene Ogden's Snake Country Journal, 1825-26
Editorial Notes by T. C. Elliott.
The publication of the Ogden journals, four in number, is made possible by the courtesy of Miss Agnes C. Laut, who for a very nominal consideration indeed consented to dispose of her copy of these journals to the writer of these notes. Miss Laut is deserving of great credit for her success in obtaining this copy from the originals in London, England.
The journal reproduced in this number of the Quarterly covers the period of Mr. Ogden's second expedition to the Snake country. As yet no journal has been found of the first expedition, and the reader will appreciate such brief mention of that expedition as is at this time possible from original Hudson's Bay Company sources; particularly as some new light will be thrown upon a certain oft mentioned occurrence of the fur trade involving the trapping parties of the H. B. Co. from the Columbia river and of the Americans from St. Louis. (See entry of April 10, 1826 ultra.)
Let it be briefly stated here that Peter Skene Ogden, then in the thirtieth year of his age and already a Chief Trader of the Hudson's Bay Company, on the 27th of October, 1824, at the mouth of the Spokane river met (Deputy) Governor George Simpson of that Company (Gov. Simpson passed down the Columbia that Fall in company with Dr. John McLoughlin and party to spend the Winter at Ft. George) and on the 31st Inst. following received his instructions to proceed at once to Flathead House and meet there Mr. Alexander Ross, who was returning from the Snake Country, and there refit the Snake Country party and conduct it back to the hunting grounds. These facts are taken from a journal of John Work, now in the possession of his descendants at Victoria, B. C.
Of Mr. Ogden's party and his start toward the Snake Country at the beginning of Winter, 1824, Mr. Ross gives us some glimpse in the "Fur Hunters of the Far West," and doubtless the experiences were not much less strenuous than those of Mr. Ross the year previous; but travel across the mountains and plains in the Winter season was not then regarded as a very unusual thing. Mr. Ross in his book argues very strongly against the use of Spokane or Flathead House as a base for the Snake Country operations and doubtless emphasized this with Mr. Ogden as well as with Gov. Simpson; for the instructions were to return the party to Ft. Nez Perces (Walla Walla). From various hints here and there it is certain that during the Winter and early Spring Mr. Ogden's party trapped along the various streams forming the headwaters of Snake river and in all probability (it is not possible yet to say with certainty), then penetrated to the northerly borders of Great Salt Lake and the river and valley afterward named in his honor. The entry on June 6, 1826 (ultra), suggests this and he is so credited by Amer. authorities (See Bancroft Hist. Utah, pp. 21 and 22 note). The chapter entitled, "The Red Feather" in that rare book, "Traits of American Indian Life and Character," may be considered a source as to the whereabouts of this party that Spring, in the opinion of the writer. Perhaps because of finding the American trappers already upon the waters flowing into the Pacific, Mr. Ogden became ambitious to cross to the waters of the Missouri; for there he was in the month of July, as shown by the journal of Mr. Work, already mentioned, from which the following quotations are drawn.
At Ft. Okanogan on the Columbia, 1825, "Tuesday, July 26. A little past noon an Indian arrived from Spokane with a note from Mr. Birnie and a packet which had recently reached that place from Mr. Ogden, dated East branch of the Missouri, 10th July. * * I deemed it my duty to open the dispatch, which I am sorry to find contains intelligence of a disagreeable nature. A series of misfortunes have attended the party from shortly after their departure, and on the 24th of May they fell in with a party of Americans, when 23 of the former deserted. Two of this party were killed, one by the Indians, and one by accident, and the remainder of the party are now coming out by the Flat Heads."
Again when on Pend d'Oreille river en route to Flat-Head House, "Monday 15th (Aug.). Embarked at 4 o'clock and reached the Indian camp at the Chutes at 11 o'clock, where I found Mr. Kittson and two men from Mr. Ogden's party with 38 packs;" and "Wed. 17th, Joachim Hubert accompanied, the Indians with the horses that brought the Snake furs and a small supply of articles for Mr. Ogden, to whom I wrote and forwarded a number of letters and dispatches addressed to him. The package was put in charge of Grospied, on[e] of the F. Head chiefs, as being more safe. It was not till I was perfectly satisfied by Mr. Kittson that there was no danger of these documents falling into improper hands that I would trust them. The chiefs are directed to give them to no one but Mr. Ogden, and in case of any accident having befallen him to bring them back. It was Mr. Ogden's directions to Mr. Kittson that only one man should be sent back to him." And again at Flat-Head House on Thurs. 25th: "I found two of Mr. Dease's men who had arrived with dispatches from the sea a few hours before. Now it is uncertain whether Mr. Ogden may equip his men at the Flat Heads or take them to Nez Perces." And "Sat. 27th. A young Indian was engaged to carry the dispatches to Mr. Ogden in the Snake country. He is to have a horse for his trip and promises to make the most expedition he can." Monday, 5th Sept. "Three of the freemen belonging to Mr. Ogden's party arrived here * * * Mr. Ogden's notes are dated on the 15th of August, when all the freemen but six had parted from him, his party then being only 15 strong, and he was going through a dangerous country." And at Spokane House again on Monday, Sept. 26. "Late last night Faneant, one of Mr. Ogden's men, arrived from the Missouri with letters dated on the 11th inst. Mr. Ogden is now on his way with 20 men to Walla Walla by the Snake country and has sent orders here for the part of his outfit that is at this place. He expects to reach that place about the 20th October. He also requires Mr. Dears to be sent to meet him with horses." And writing from Ft. Nez Perces (Walla Walla) to John McLeod on Nov. 9, 1825, Dr. John McLoughlin, who was there impatiently waiting, says: "I have this moment been called off to receive Mr. Ogden; his men are to be here in two days. His horses are so knocked up that we cannot send you any until he is supplied."
From these sources and references in the journals it is known that Mr. Ogden was absent upon his first Snake Country expedition almost a year and met with reverses (not by any stampede or physical encounter, but) by the desertion to the Americans of nearly all his free trappers (French-Canadians) with their furs and outfits, and that he returned along the trails previously used by an equally corpulent and resourceful predecessor, Mr. Donald McKenzie of the Northwest Company, across Southern Idaho and by the valleys of Burnt River, Powder River and the Grand Ronde to the Valley of the Walla Walla, a route afterward followed by the first wagons ever brought to the Columbia (by Robt. Newell, Francis Ermatinger and others) and later by the various migrations and still later by the steel rails. Reaching Ft. Walla Walla he found his old companion Samuel Black just succeeding Mr. John Dease to the command there, and his chief factor, Dr. Mc Loughlin; and while spending the twelve days of his brief vacation before starting on the second expedition that "strange occurrence" took place which is related in Chapter III. (entitled The Burial of the Dead and the Living) of the book "Traits," etc., already mentioned.
From the entry on Nov. 25th (ultra), it is seen that Dr. Mc Loughlin had selected in advance the route for the second expedition and had sent ahead toward the headwaters of the Des Chutes a party under Finan McDonald and Thos. McKay. This Finan McDonald had been in the Flathead and Spokane country as early as 1809-10 with David Thompson, and Thos. McKay had arrived at Astoria with his father, Alex. McKay, in March, 1811, both of the Astoria party on the Tonquin.
According to the entry of April 10th (ultra), by some advantage held over them (the full nature of which is not yet understood) the deserters of the previous year were compelled to pay their debts to the H. B. Co. by turning in over four hundred dollars' worth of beaver (not eight thousand one hundred and twelve beaver skins). There are later references to this incident under which it will be more appropriate to discuss it. It will be noted that whenever Mr. Ogden could start for the Columbia with more than three thousand beaver skins in the packs he was a happy man.
Readers of these journals will be interested in reading in comparison Chapter XXXI. of Miss Laut's "Conquest of the Great Northwest," and, a sketch of the life of Mr. Ogden soon to appear in this Quarterly.
JOURNAL OF PETER SKENE OGDEN; SNAKE EXPEDITION, 1825-1826.
(As Copied by Miss Agnes C. Laut in 1905 from Original in Hudson's Bay House, London, England.)
Monday, November 21, 1825. Having sent off all hands yesterday in company with Mr. Dears(1) I took my departure from Ft. Nez Perces(2) and about 10 o'clock I overtook my party who were waiting my arrival. Tho 6 horses were missing I gave orders to raise camp. We followed the banks of the Columbia, course S. W., and encamped near the Grand Rapid, distance 9 miles - the road hilly and sandy.
Tuesday, 22d. Altho many of our horses were not to be found this morning, I gave orders to raise camp, leaving 6 men to go in quest of them. Several of the fort Indians followed us, more with a view of giving us trouble. We reached the Utaka(3) River and encamped. Here we found a large camp of Indians from within. We traded some salmon and firewood; distance 8 miles; course west-, road hilly; we have great trouble with our wild horses; weather hazy and foggy.
Wednesday, 23d. The party I sent off yesterday in quest of our horses did not return, and 4 more being missing this morning, I sent Mr. Dears with two men in quest of them, but provisions being so scarce, I was obliged to raise camp - in fact the sooner we can get rid of the Indians the safer our horses will be. We came this day only 6 miles and encamped late in the evening. All hands with the exception of one man arrived with all our lost horses excepting one, which the Indians had killed for food;, road fine; weather fine.
Thursday, 24th. I this morning received a note from Mr. Black(4) informing me that he had recovered four of our six horses missing on the 21. The absent man also made his appearance. He informed me that 4 Indians had pillaged all his ammunition, but I doubt the truth of this. Altho we commence at the dawn of day to collect our horses, we are never ready to start before 10 o'clock. We had a fine road this day and encamped at the long island distant 10 miles; weather very mild; grass in abundance for horses.
Friday, 25th. Rain all night. Altho weather was bad we raised camp and continued marching until evening our route along the banks of the river. We met with two of the Cayuse chiefs who proposed to me to follow their route, that the road was shorter to Mr. McDonald's(5) camp. But my guide being of a different opinion, I gave way to him, however anxious I feel to join Mr. McDonald, and provisions being scarce, I must comply. Course S. W.,15 miles; rainy.
Saturday, 26th. Rain all night. Some Indians came to our camp this morning and traded a horse. It was midday before we found all our horses. The road this day very hilly and sandy; very fatiguing for our horses; two of them could scarcely crawl when we reached the encampment; it is distressing to undertake a long journey with such miserable creatures, and I seriously apprehend if the Winter is severe 2-3 will die; distance 8 miles S. W.; cloudy.
Sunday, 27th. Started early, camped at sunset; 20 Indians came to our camp; all very quiet; our route along the banks of the Columbia; distance 12 miles; course S.; cold and hazy.
Monday, 28th. Rain prevented starting. We were so lucky as to trade 3 horses; 40 salmon fish caught.
Tuesday, 29th. As we were starting an Indian arrived and brought the goods back for one of the horses we traded, which was returned to him, although it was fair trade. I did not think it prudent to comply with his request. One of the men's horses missing this morning. Altho search was made it was vain. We reached John Day's River and found our old Walla Walla chief waiting our arrival; 10 miles; course west.
Wednesday, 30th. A great many Indians collected about our camp this morning. In the night 2 traps were stolen from the men. We traded 2 horses at an extravagant rate, but were too much in need, and well do the natives know this, and act accordingly. We raised camp late, altho it was rainy, but I am not only anxious to reach Mr. McDonald, but to get rid of the natives, who are troublesome; distance 4 miles; course south. This day I forwarded dispatches to Ft. Vancouver.
Thursday, December 1. Again horses missing; no doubt stolen. It was late ere we started and we reached the River of the Falls(6) early and camped. We found upwards of 100 Indians. The 2 traps stolen were recovered. Many horses offered for sale but too extravagant in demands. Toward night one Indian stole some ammunition out of the free men's tents. The Walla Walla chief started in pursuit of the thief and returned in the night with the stolen property; road stony and hilly; course S. W.; distance 6 miles.
Friday, 2d. Three of the men's horses wanting, also some belonging to the natives. This did not prevent raising camp, as by remaining here we should lose more than gain, but tomorrow shall send party back in quest of our horses. We had some difficulty in crossing over the river, its banks being overflowed owing to the mild weather and late rains. Having crossed, we bade farewell to the Columbia River and took S. E. direction and camped on a small river(7) which discharges into Columbia below Grand Dalles; distance 6 miles; commenced keeping watch as I fear now the Indians know of our leaving them they may attempt to take a band of our horses. Soil firm and well wooded; few oak trees; no signs of beaver.
Saturday, 3d. It was late ere we started; number of Indians that followed us yesterday traded 30 salmon and bade us farewell. I engaged a chief to return with 3 men in quest of our stolen horses. On starting we left the river, crossed over a point of land 9 miles, then followed the river about a mile. It being dark, we camped. It is scarcely credible, altho we are yet so short a distance from the Columbia what a difference there is; soil rich; oak of a large size, abundant; grass green, weather warm; route hilly; high hills at a distance covered with snow; distance 10 miles; course S. S. W.; men constantly employed about our horses.
Sunday, 4th. Started at 10 o'clock. Change in weather since yesterday; cold and cloudy. We commenced ascending and descending high hills; came 10 miles. Finding a small brook, camped; course south. The 3 men and Indians in quest of stolen horses returned with all; they found them on north side of Columbia and to get them were obliged to pay 30 balls of powder - no doubt the thief himself restored them, a corn- mon practice with the Columbia Indians. Shortly after we camped an Indian arrived who told us he left Mr. McDonald's party 8 days since, all well but starving, having taken few beaver; prospects bright; fine oaks, but wood scarce; soil good.
Monday, 5th. Started at 8 A. M. Our guide informed us there were some small deer to be seen. I despatched 3 hunters; about 12 o'clock came to the end of the hills - a grand and noble sight - Mount Hood bearing due west, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Nesqually(8) Northwest, covered with eternal snow, and in a southern direction other lofty mountains in form and shape of sugar loaves. At the foot of all these mountains were lofty pines, which added greatly to the grandeur of the prospect. Could anything make it more so? After descending the last hill, which occupied nearly 2 hours, we reached a fine plain; sandy soil covered with wormwood. We crossed over to this place, a large fork of the River of the Falls; another fork of the same was also seen near, taking its course S. E., and the latter S. W. Both forks were wooded and formerly stocked with beaver, but the Nez Perces Indians have destroyed all; both appear to take their rise from a mountain not far, and covered with snow. The mild weather must account for the high water and muddy colour - in fact so thick we could scarcely swallow it. My hunters had no success. An Indian who killed an antelope gave me a share; a most acceptable present; the first meat since we left the fort. Some petrifactions of the fir tree were collected. Course S. E.; distance 15 miles.
Tuesday, 6th. Hunters off in quest of deer; 2 horses missing, one of the Company's. Remained in camp till 11, hoping to find him, but in vain. Before leaving sent an Indian and one mean in quest of him Crossed over the S. E. with some difficulty over route hilly; country very stony. We reached the foot of the mountains. Our guide killed a deer. The Walla Walla chief departed from us; traded a horse from him; distance 12 miles S. S. E. Man and Indian returned without horse.
Wednesday, 7th. Broke camp an early hour; began ascending; continued so for 3 1/2 hours. However great the ascent, the descent was not great. By the time we reached level ground our horses were greatly fatigued, and tho early, we encamped; road very stony; country covered with rocks and stones; deer abundant; upwards of 100 seen; travel too swift to be overtaken; hunters killed 3 - distance 10 miles.
Thursday, 8th. Rain all night. We started at 10 o'clock - passed over a rugged country, stony and hilly; horses sinking knee deep in the mire; late ere we found a small brook to camp; course south; distance 10 miles; hunters killed 2 deer and a mountain sheep. Shortly after camping, were joined by Mr. McKay(9) and 4 men. He informed me Mr. McDonald was at a short distance, anxiously waiting my arrival. Their success had not been great, only 460 beaver, but this is solely owing to the poverty of the country and not to want of effort. Their wait has recruited their horses, which mine greatly require. Anxious to find beaver ere I make a halt; weather cloudy and cold.
Friday, 9th. Started early. Route, as usual, over a hilly country for 8 miles, when we reached Mr. McDonald's camp on the bank of the Falls River; fine large stream. Both parties pleased to meet. Many of the hills we crossed are of blood red color, very rich from grass On them - In this quarter are 3 boiling fountains(10) which I did not see, but am told are sulphur. The country since the 4th has been bare, only a few fir trees - flint stones in abundance; animals scarce; all the rivers being discharged into the Columbia. From the chief factor, McLoughlin, I expected to have found Mr. McDonald provided with guides, but it is the reverse and places me in an unpleasant situation. I must find an Indian who knows the country. If not, must make the attempt without; this will cause loss of time, it being such a mountainous country; course south.
Saturday, 10th. Remained in camp. As we cannot ford the river with out horses we have a canoe made. Indians who had accompanied Mr. McDonald from Ft. Vancouver took their departure for this quarter and I forwarded letters by them to the Columbia; also sent 4 men invalided to Vancouver; were not benefit here. Paid our guide from Nez Perce, though from his conduct he was not entitled to any payment. The anxiety and trouble Indian guides give is known only to those at their mercy. An Indian promised to go for his family and accompany me on my voyage, but the evening has come without his appearance. Four of our horses missing-had the rest sent across. The current strong, but not a horse drowned. More fortunate than I expected. An Indian brought the two horses missing on the 6th. So far lucky.
Sunday, 11th. Very foggy. Horses missing yesterday found today; the rest crossed also part of the property with men to guard the horses. Made Charley Nez Perce a present for past services, also as a bait to induce some Indian to accompany us. Of many here, two only are acquainted with the country I wish to reach. A Snake Indian, who has lived for many years with the Cayuse Indians, consented to come. A more fit person could not have been selected. If he does not desert us we may consider ourselves fortunate.
Monday, 12th. At daylight began crossing over the river the rest of the property, but it was near night ere all was transferred. Having remained on this side with Mr. McKay to watch the motions of our new guide, I was not a little surprised to learn of the death of a slave who belonged to Mr. McDonald's party. The particulars are: Joseph Despard and deceased were employed taking the goods to the top of the hill when words took place between them, but no blows. Despard loaded himself to ascend and when nearly at the top of the bank, the deceased came up to him and struck him on the back. D- then threw down his load and a battle took place, continuing for about 5 minutes, when deceased went to his camp. During the night he threw up blood, and this day at 2 P. M., expired, prior to death suffering greatly. On examining the body, I could not observe any marks of violence or blows, except a hard swelling on the abdomen. A report having circulated that D- kicked the deceased, I made enquiry, but found it incorrect. I had a grave made and the body interred. It is not in my power to send D- to Vancouver. I have allowed the affair for the present to remain quiet until we return to headquarters. The poor man is miserable and unhappy. Weather mild.
Tuesday, 13th. Rainy and stormy, which prevented starting. I delivered to Mr. McDonald's men each 1 horse, also 1 lb. tobacco, also took account of furs on hand and gave traps to some of the party who were in want. We learned from Indian report that a party of Cayuse are off to warn the Snake Indians that we are coming to pay them a visit, but I am not of opinion it is the case; if so, it is with a view of taking beaver on the borders of this territory before we reach it.
Wednesday, 14th. The rain continued all night, but clear this day. We collected our horses and raised camp. Ground hilly and stony. Many of our horses lame. We reached a small creek and encamped; distance 10 miles; 20 traps out, but no great hopes of success. Saw a fine herd of sheep, but too swift for us. Course S. E.
Thursday, 15th. Raised traps and started; only 2 beaver. Hunters off in quest of food. Route is stony. In the mountains snow is to be seen - the hills covered with wormwood; rivers scarce; poor prospect of beaver; found a small creek and camped; distance 9 miles. Course S. S. E.; 3 sheep killed this day.
Friday, 16th. Started early with camp. Our hunters off before daylight over route; for 4 miles a fine valley, then S. E over hills; encamped on same brook as last night. Hunters came in with 3 deer. One saw an Indian scampering off. This must be a Snake. Consequently had our horses well guarded during the night within call of camp.
Saturday, 17th. Started early. Horses safe this day. S. E. for 4 miles across a high mountain covered with firs; descended to a large plain, crossed due S. and fell on another fork of the River of the Falls and camped; nearly 100 traps set out; in crossing the mountains we saw 40 huts of Indians not more than 10 days abandoned, resembling in form and shape those I saw last Fall in the lower Snake country; concluded they must be Snake Indians. Of course we shall soon see them. This day 8 miles.
Sunday, 18th. Had remainder of our traps set, as I want to give the river a chance and rest our horses. Being on the border of the Snake Land we require to watch by day and night and regulate our march accordingly in case Winter should be severe. Winter mild; no cause to complain. God grant it may remain so; 14 beaver this day.
Monday, 19th. Cloudy, with showers of rain; fine weather for hunting beaver. We did not raise camp. This day took 38 beaver.
Tuesday, 20th. Really warm. One-third of traps are in the rear. I did not raise camp. If this river had not been visited by the Nez Perces it would have yielded 400 to 500 beaver. This day 21 beaver. Many of the trappers have obtained permission to sleep out of camp and have not come in. One caught a raccoon the size of our Indian dog. I presume this fellow was also in quest of beaver. Indeed beaver are a prey to man and beast.
Wednesday, 21st. Rain all night. Three-fourths of trappers are in advance with their traps. I ascended main fork 3 miles and encamped. Course east. Soil rich. Grass 7 feet high, making it difficult to set traps. We must now change our course; 39 beaver, 2 otter.
Thursday, 22d. Froze last night, 2 inches thick; not in our favor. If we do not soon find animals we shall surely starve. My Indian guide threatens to leave us and it was with trouble I persuaded him to remain. Few can form any idea of the anxiety an Indian guide gives. The fellow knows we are dependent on him. If we can but reach the Snake waters, he may go to the devil. We raised camp. Ascended a small fork; a fine valley; fine hills; 16 miles due east. All the trappers set their traps with little hope of success, they are so crowded. Today 15 beaver, 3 otter. Did not see the trace of an animal and as the cold increases, I feel very uneasy regarding food. As the beavers do not lay up a stock of provisions for the winter, as is the case in cold countries, I hope the cold spell will soon pass; otherwise how can they exist, as we well know without food we cannot.
Friday, 23d. Very cold. About mid-day 2 Nez Perces arrived, having 2 traps, to accompany us for beaver. They left the fort some time after I did and are ignorant of the country;- 23 beaver and 1 otter; many of the traps fast in the ice; 2 lost by chains breaking. I sent 2 men to examine the source Of this fork. They report no appearance of beaver. Mr. McKay and 6 men started to follow the large fork we left on the 22d. We shall follow. Juniper and fir here.
Saturday, 24th. Cold increasing fast. It is far from pleasant in cold weather to ride at snail's pace, but it must be so or starve. We ascended a light stony hill. The frozen ground made it difficult for horses to reach the top. We crossed a sky line 10 miles, descended gradually, reached the fork we left on 22d and camped. Course S. S. E. River here wide and lined with willows. Mr. McKay and party joined us. They have not found beaver, and their traps are all fast in the ice. Saw another old camp of Snake Indians about 10 days old. I wish from my heart I could see them. It would free us of our present guide; 15 beaver this day; a feast tomorrow.
Sunday, 25th. This being Christmas, all hands remained in camp. Prayers were made. Cold increases; prospects gloomy; not 20 lbs. of food remain in camp, and nearly all our traps out of water.
Monday, 26th. Cold. Raised camp and ascended river now fast with ice, our route over hilly country, being obliged from the cut rocks to cross over the river 3 different times; had some difficulty; two bales of goods and some skins got wet; our hunters are in search of deer; encamped early; distance 5 miles east. Toward evening the weather became overcast and the water rising fast, the trappers set out with their traps. Hunters brought in 4 small deer, miserably poor.
Tuesday, 27th. Weather very cold. On collecting horses, we found one-third limping and many Of them could not stand; were found lying on the plain. Some of the trappers started trenches, the rest visited the traps, returned at night with no success, their traps fast in ice, and no beaver from the trenches. The river is so wide we cannot get beaver with the ice chisel. The hunters came in with 5 small deer. If this cold does not soon pass my situation with so many men will not be pleasant, but last year I met with so many reverses, men grumbling and discontented, that I am in a manner prepared, but can afford them no relief. If we escape starvation it will depend on the hunters. God preserve us. Today 4 beaver.
Wednesday, 28th. Early this A.M. Mr. McKay and 7 men set off in quest of deer; trappers off with their ice chisels, much against their will. The cold is greater than I ever before experienced on the Columbia; 2 beaver this day. Ice chisels produced nothing, nor will in this river, tho no scarcity of beaver.
Thursday, 29th. I intended raising camp, but stormy weather and non-arrival of McKay prevented.
Friday, 30th. Cold increases. My guide refuses to proceed; says there are no animals in the Snake Country, nor any beaver, and our horses will die; that we cannot cross the mountains. This is discouraging, but we must make a trial. On promising him a gun at Fort Nez Perces he consented to go. Followed the river S. E. for 5 miles; 6 small deer, 57 beaver.(11)
Saturday, 31st. Great severity of weather. No beaver to be expected. One of the freemen, being 3 days without food, killed one of his horses. This example will soon be followed by others. The only chance we have is of finding red deer, but from our guide we can learn nothing. He appears unwilling to give any information. Two hunters returned, but with no success. The deer very wild; 1 beaver today. Gave the men half rations for tomorrow, which will be devoured tonight, as three-fourths of the party have been two days without food.
Sunday, Jan. 1, 1826, Remained in camp. Gave all hands a dram. There was more fasting than feasting. The first New Year's day since I came to the Indian country when my men were without food; 4 beaver today.
Monday, 2d. Altho 6 men are absent since 30th, I ordered camp raised. Followed up the stream 6 miles S. E. Altho bank is well lined with willows, only a few trees to be seen on the hills of the juniper species. Trappers report favorable beaver signs, but ice prevents taking any; 3 beaver today. The absent men still out.
Tuesday, the 3d. Cold has decreased, but still severe for Columbia. Followed stream S. E. 12 miles and camped at an Indian barrier made last Summer for taking salmon (weir). I wish I could discover some of these Indians. One man reported be had seen 12 beaver houses. I must steer my course this way on my return. Another horse killed for food. Except for 7 beaver the men without food this day.
Wednesday, the 4th. Proceeded 3 miles, when we came to a fork from south, but our guide did not follow it. Continued 4 miles and camped. The river free of ice. All hands out with traps. Our course this day 3 miles N. E. 4 miles. The mountains(12) appeared about 30 miles distant, covered with snow and trees. They gave hope of red deer. A small red deer killed this day was divided, making 3 oz. of meat per man. Absent men have not yet come; 4 beaver today.
Thursday, the 5th. Snow at night. Mr. McKay with 3 men started for the mountains seen yesterday in quest of deer, also the trappers in quest of beaver. Wind veered S. W. with rain. I wish it might continue for 40 days and nights. We require it. One of the absent men arrived at night with a small deer - this will make a meal for all hands; 11 beaver today.
Friday, 6th. Sent 3 men for mountains. Mild this A. M. Many of the horses can scarcely crawl for want of grass, owing to frozen ground. March they must or we starve. We proceeded about 5 miles, encamped on a small fork lined with aspen. We are now on very high land and expect soon to see another river from the long range of mountains visible. From our guide is no information, tho I am confident the country is well known to him. In the evening Mr. McKay and party arrived without seeing the track of an animal, reporting 4 ft. of snow in mountains, so this blasts my hopes of finding deer. What will become of us? Nine beaver this day and 2 otter. All our traps set, but very crowded, in ice and rain.
Saturday, 7th. Rain and snow all day, with appearance of cold. So many are starving in the camp that they start before day to steal beaver out of their neighbors' traps if they find nothing in their own. Altho strong suspicions against the men, we could not prove them guilty. Our traps gave us 10 beaver.
Sunday, 8th. Snow today. Absent men arrived with 2 small deer; divided it fairly amongst all. Had the pleasure of seeing a raven this day. Some wolves were also seen by the trappers; 12 beavers and 1 otter.
Monday, 9th. Our horses assembled, we started early N. N. E. for 4 miles and crossed over a fine fork, then ascended some high hills, very stony. A violent storm obliged us to encamp. General course N. N. E. and E. 8 miles. Two Nez Perces intimated they would leave us to morrow. Starving does not agree with them; 2 beaver this day.
Tuesday, 10th. Wrote the gentlemen of Columbia, gave the Indians presents for the trouble of carrying the letters. Came only short distance, when wind obliged us to encamp; 9 beaver; 2 horses killed for food. Seeing our horses killed makes me wretched, for I know full well in the Spring we will require them all. Two of the hunters arrived starving. They had been gone three days and did not see the track of a thing.
Wednesday, 11th. Started early; weather mild. About dusk we reached the sources of the Day's River, which discharges in the Columbia, 9 miles from main falls. Here we camped; 15 miles; 3 beaver.
Thursday, 12th. Nearly two-thirds of horses too lame to move, but require food, and followed down stream 3 miles on a horrid road, one continued rock and stone, ascended a high hill, descended to a fork of the river and camped -course N. N. W. 3 miles, E. 4; 1 beaver; 12 colts killed for food.
Friday, 13th. Five men absent since the 10th. I am obliged to wait, altho we are starving. A mountain must be crossed ahead and it is necessary our horses should rest. We have taken in all 265 beavers and 9 otters. This day 2 beavers.
Saturday, 14th. At daybreak Mr. Dears and a man started in quest of the 5 absent men. Rain all night. I apprehend they will not be able to find the tracks of the lost. Our course W. by N. 2 miles, then N. 6 miles along the main branch of Day's River, a fine large stream nearly as wide again as it is at the Columbia. From appearances this river takes its source the same quarter as the River of the Falls and Utaka * * * We found Snake huts not long abandoned. I sent 20 men with traps ahead of us. It was night ere we camped. The horses sink knee deep in mire all day. The road cannot be surpassed in badness in so short a distance. Here the grass is green, no snow, the frogs croaking as merrily as in May; 2 beaver this day.
Sunday, 15th. I intend to try luck here and await Mr. Dears. Set all the trappers off well loaded with traps. Tracks of small deer were seen and 2 killed. One of my men saw 2 Snake Indians. He conversed by signs with them, but they could not be persuaded to come to camp. As soon as he parted from them they disappeared, no doubt to hide and watch an opportunity to steal horses and traps; 12 beaver, 1 otter this day.
Monday, 16th. Rain all night. The river rises 2 feet, so no hope from traps. Our horses all safe, but some of the traps gone; 6 beaver and 2 otter.
Tuesday, 17th. Rain again. No word of Mr. Dears and the absent men. Gave orders to raise camp, but sent a young man to raise a fire in the mountains so if the party have lost our track the fire will direct them. Our course N. by E. for five miles to large fork bearing east and camped. The horses sank knee deep in the mud. Mr. McKay, who was in quest of deer, found a Snake Indian; hid in the rocks, secured him and brought him to the camp, treated him kindly and in the evening he informed us that this fork will conduct us nearly to Snake River. The road fine, no snow and a few beaver; 25 beaver today and 2 otter. Our guide killed a small deer.
Wednesday, the 18th. This A. M. sent out 6 men well loaded with traps. The Snake Indian left us this morning. I sent my guide with him, as he said he had 10 beaver skins, to induce him to return to trade. About mid-day Mr. Dears with the absent men arrived. He found them in the mountains we crossed on the 11th. They were in quest of us and from the route they were taking would probably never have found us. They have 15 beaver and 1 otter. Well I sent for them. At night my guide returned and informed me the Snake Indian on reaching his hut, found all abandoned; his family and followers had fled, but the Snake had gone in pursuit and would bring them to my camp; 4 beaver and 2 otter this day, making in all 19 beaver, 2 otter; 4 traps lost, owing to high water. Mr. McKay came back with one small deer.
Thursday, 19th. Early 5 Snake Indians paid us a visit and traded 6 large and 2 small beaver for knives and beads and 10 beavers with my guide for a horse. I treated them kindly and made a trifling present to an old man with them whom they appeared to respect. They were fine, tall men, well dressed, and for so barren a country in good condition. None of my trappers returned. From this I conclude they are doing well.
Friday, 20th. Ascended fork 8 miles, our course due east, our route over Barren Hills, but a lofty range of mountains visible on both sides of the river, well wooded with Norway pines; today 27 beaver and 4 otter.
Saturday, 21st. Seventeen beaver and 2 otter today; nearly sufficient to supply us with food.
Sunday, 22d. Cold increasing. Ice will soon form again. This day 26 beaver.
Monday, 23d. Severe cold. Two horses missing. Course west; distance 9 miles; beaver 7.
Tuesday, 24th. Floating in the river 2 horses supposed to be stolen by Snake hunters; killed an antelope; 27 beaver and 2 otter.
Wednesday 25th. Continued ascending river easterly 6 miles, then N. E. 6 miles. From the starving state we are in I cannot wait for the men in the rear; 6 beaver and one otter.
Thursday, 26th. Ice forming on river; course east by north 8 miles over a lofty range of hills bare of wood N. E. Here we leave the waters of Day's River. Since joining Mr. McDonald, allowing we had one hundred hunters, had we not our traps we must have starved to death. Where the Indians of this part resort in winter I cannot (tell) ; have no doubt concealed in the mountains; 6 horses to and work to reach camp last night 12 beaver and my Snake hunter killed one antelope.
Friday, 27th. My guide refuses to proceed; says road is bad and horses require day's rest. I was obliged to comply. Thank God, when we get across the mountains I trust I shall soon reach Snake River or south branch of the Columbia; 9 beaver and 1 otter.
Saturday, 28th. Our guide says there are 6 ft. of snow in mountains; impossible to pass in this direction; must try another. Many in the camp are starving. For the last ten days only one meal every two days. Still the company's horses must not fall a sacrifice. We hope when we are across the mountains to fare better; today 4 beaver.
Sunday, 29th. Three inches of snow; raised camp for S. E. 6 miles; our guide says he intends to return. A horse this day killed; on examining his feet, the hoof entirely worn away and only raw stump.(13)
February 2. We are now on the waters of the south branch of the Columbia.
February 3. This surely is the Snake Country; as far as the eye can reach, nothing but lofty mountains. A more gloomy country I never yet saw; too (?) horses killed for food today.
Saturday, Feb. 4th. We have taken 85 beaver and 16 otter on Day's River; my Snake guide brought in 4 sheep (Ibex). He says this is Burnt River.
Feb. 5th. Course E. N. E, Crossed river three times and found the ice sufficiently strong to bear our horses. One of the men detected this day stealing a beaver out of another man's trap; as starvation was the cause of this, he was pardoned on condition of promising not to do it again.
10 Feb. Followed the banks of Burnt River S. S. E. 10 miles. One horse killed. Nearly every bone in his body broken. Two of the men could not advance from weakness. We have been on short allowance almost too long and resemble so many skeletons; one trap this day gave us 14 beaver.
11 Feb. Crossed Burnt River within 3 miles of its discharge into Snake River on south branch of Columbia. It has given us 54 beaver and 6 otter.
Sunday, Feb. 12. Following the banks of the river(14) we discovered a fire on the opposite side of the river; two Indians came down to the beach. I signed them to follow us; but on a rocky point of land we lost sight of them.
February 13. Two Snake Indians came to camp. They had nothing to trade; encamped on same spot as last Fall. Found a camp of Snake Indians, 3 tents, 5 men, women and children. It is not long since they left the buffalo country. They appeared in good condition, but have nothing to trade. Two trappers came in with nothing, starving for the last 3 days, but they have no encouragement here, so off again tomorrow; 3 beaver today.
Tuesday, 14th. Started early; sent my two Snake hunters out with 6 traps each and 2 horses to north side of river. I also gave them 2 scalping knives, 1/2 dozen rings, 1/2 dozen buttons, to trade, and 20 balls to hunt. I have now all my trappers in motion. We encamped on River au Malheur (unfortunate river) so called on account of goods and furs hid here discovered and stolen by the natives. Gervaise killed 2 Small deer; 3 beaver.
Thursday, 16th. Cold last night; very severe; rain froze; Our prospects gloomy; we must continue to starve; now all are reduced to skin and bones; more beggarly looking beings I defy the world to produce. Still I have no cause to complain of the men; day after day they labor in quest of food and beaver without a shoe to their feet; the frozen ground is hardly comfortable; but it is an evil without remedy. The Snake Indians paid us a visit empty handed; they, too, complain of starvation. Were our horses in good condition, in 10 days we could make the buffalo ground. In their present weak state we cannot go in less than 25; 1 small deer and not one beaver.
Friday, 17th. About 10 o'clock we started our course S. and E., distance 15 miles, and camped South Branch on leaving Riviere a Malheur. This day saw a large fork on north; it was in this region called Payettes River, that in 1819, 3 Sandwich(15) Indians were killed by the Snake Indians; cold is intense; what little beaver there is we cannot take; while this weather continues starve we must.
Saturday, 18th. Severe cold. It was late ere we started; our horses, many of them, could scarcely stand this morning. Grass scarce in this quarter; out course south 4 miles, when we reached Sandwich Island River, so called, owing to 2 of them murdered by Snake Indians in 1819. This is a fine large river; on the north side opposite this fork is Reed's River, who was also with all his party, to the number of 11, murdered by the Snakes and their establishment destroyed. This party was in the employ of the Pacific Fur Company. Subsequent to this Mr. D. McKenzie made a post at the entrance to the river, but it was abandoned from want of food and hostility of natives; fortunate they did(16) for 2 Canadians were killed only 3 days after, it is gloomy to reflect the number of lives that have been lost in this quarter and without the death of one being revenged, not from want of will, but circumstances which prevented it. Hunt this day 2 beaver, altho 50 traps were out; such a tardy Spring.
Sunday, 19th. Two horses killed this day for food.
Tuesday, 21. From the weak state of our horses and want of food I this day decided to send back 2 parties with the weakest horses to trap the country we have traveled. Jean Baptiste Gervaise(17)
with 7 men, to await our arrival about July 15, and Antoine Sylvaille with 5 men to trap Sandwich Island and Unfortunate River until they receive tidings from me. By this means, in regard to food, we shall be 14 less, and the horses will recruit.
Wednesday, 22. At an early hour I started the rear party and have only to add I wish them success and that we may all meet again. Until we do, I shall feel uneasy from the number of accidents we have met with in this cursed country; but there is no other alternative.
Sunday, 26 February. On our travels this day we saw a Snake Indian. His hut being near the road, curiosity induced me to enter. I had often heard these wretches subsisted on ants, locusts and small fish, not larger than minnies, and I wanted to find out if it was not an exaggeration of late travelers, but to my surprise, I found it was the case; for in one of their dishes, not of small size, was filled with ants. They collected them in the morning early before the thaw commences. The locusts they collect in Summer and store up for their Winter; in eating they give the preference to the former, being oily; the latter not, on this food these poor wretches drag out an existence for nearly 4 months of the year; they live contented and happy; this is all they require. It appeared strange, and the only reason I can give for it is the poverty of this country and food, that few or no children are to be seen among them. We have seen upwards of 30 families and only 3 children among them. Before many years, not many will be living; ants and locusts will again increase.
Thursday, March 2nd. This day took an account of beaver and otter taken during the last month, in all 174, had the weather been mild, we should have had from this country at least 3000 beaver and not one horse would have fallen for the kettle.
Friday, 3d. Reached River Malade, Sickly River,(18) and encamped on this river, a fine large stream; derives its name from the beaver living on a poisonous root. Formerly, in 1819, all who ate of the beaver taken here were seriously ill. Beaver here must subsist on roots. Saw incredible number of deer, black-tail and white, miserably poor, skin and bone but most exceptible[sic] to us all.
Saturday, March 11. My men four days without food.
Sunday, March 12. We are now encamped within 100 yards where the Pacific Fur Company traders lost a man by the upsetting of one of their canoes. We cannot be far from the place where the Blackfeet killed one of my party last spring. If the Americans have not visited this place since I left, we surely shall find beaver and buffalo.
Monday, March 13. Hunters arrived with 13 elk; never did men eat with better appetite; many did not stop to go to bed till midnight.
Friday, March 17th. A Snake Indian of the plains informed us buffalo were near. I gave the call to start in pursuit and with the assistance of Indian horses, two buffalo were killed; our horses being too poor for buffalo running. Mr. McKay killed four elk.
Sunday, March 18th. The Snake Indian who arrived yesterday left today. The villain in going off discovered a woman belonging to our camp near at hand collecting wood. He forcibly threw her on the ground and pillaged her of some beads and other ornaments she had on her leather dress. This fellow we shall not see again.
Monday, March 20. I sent two men with traps to examine Raft River.(19) About 30 Indians paid us a visit. They report that a party of Americans and Iroquois are not three days march from us; near the spot one of my party was killed last spring. If this be the case, I have no doubt our hunts are damned, and we may prepare to return empty handed. With my discontented party I dread meeting the Americans. That some will attempt desertion I have not the least doubt, after the sufferings they have endured. This stream is lined with Snake Indians preparing to descend to avoid the Blackfeet Indians. They left us promising to return to trade; but appeared independent of our goods; well armed and well stocked in ammunition, knives and iron; not a beaver skin among them all.
Wednesday, March 22d. We have upwards of 100 traps set. The Snake camp began to move about sunrise and continued passing till night; not less than 400 heads, nearly double that number of horses, with buffalo meat. This camp is bound to Sickly River for roots and salmon. In the fall they will return to winter in the Buffalo plain. This is the life they lead. The Blackfeet are fast diminishing their numbers and before many years all will be killed. Two of the chiefs paid us a visit; they are well dressed, and comport themselves decently. I made each a present of a knife and an awl. They are to meet the Nez Perces Indians at the entrance of Burnt River to trade. We are now in a country of danger and guard at night. Nine beaver today.
Friday, March 24th. Retraced back our steps to the entrance of Raft River. Saw another Snake camp of 200 who wintered with the Americans and carry an American flag. They had 60 guns and ammunition not scarce. It was this camp that destroyed Mr. Reid and party, on Sandwich Islands, 10 Americans and pillaged free men two years since. They informed me the American camp of 25 tents were on Bear's River and it is a month since they left. This day 36 beaver and one otter.
Saturday, March 25th. The Snakes continued to move. I had no idea the Snakes were so numerous. The Plains Snakes, said to be 1000 men, annually go to the Spanish settlements to trade and steal horses. The Lower Snakes are not less than 1500 men, independent of women and children. The Blackfeet steal great numbers of horses from them; they retaliate in kind; they have 150 guns. Our horses are well guarded, day and night. No less than 13 traps stolen by the natives. Forty-five beaver this day.
Tuesday, March 28th. Course northeast. We reach the Falls, commonly known as the American Falls; not high, about 10 feet; tracks of Indians, supposed to be Blackfeet, as we are now in their territory. Forty-two beaver today.
Wednesday, March 29th. At the break of day, the morning watch called us to arms; "Blackfeet," resounded from one end of camp to the other; horses were scarcely secured when they were in sight and advanced slowly singing, but not with bad intention; bows unstrung, cases on their guns, we advanced to receive them, when the chief came forward and presented his hand. I was surprised to recognize an old acquaintance of mine in this chief. They were soon seated and requested to speak. They informed me they left the Saskatchewan in December last and were in quest of the Snakes to steal horses; they discovered our men last night and did not venture to come to the camp; the truth is, they found our horses too weak and well guarded. We were now fully convinced we were in a country of danger. This party consists of 80 men and as usual with them their reserve amounts to 20 and cannot be far distant; they are poorly armed, only 15 guns; scarcely any ammunition; bows and arrows scarce among them. If rascals deserve reward, they do for the distance they came in quest of horses and scalps. Well may the Snakes dread. They remained about camp all day. Many of our traps were not visited and those near at hand were all brought into camp late at night; the reserve camp of Piegans made their appearance, ten men and two women; every precaution taken with our horses for the night to keep them snug. Ten beaver.
Thursday, March 30th. It was 12 o'clock before the Piegans set out in quest of the Snakes. They left in our camp one sick man and two women. Our course, north north east.
Friday,, March 31st. Counted 40 horses dead in Snake winter camp; 27 beaver today, which makes our first thousand, and leaves two to begin the second thousand. I hope to reach Vancouver with 3,000.
Saturday, April 1st. A stormy night, at daylight a call from the guard "to arms." We were soon out and seven men came to our camp. Fort Nez Perces Indians, who passed the winter with the Flatheads and left them 40 days since. These fellows are in quest of Snakes to steal horses and seemed disappointed to find the Piegans before them.
Sunday, April 2d. Course north nor'east. Camped Portneuf Fork; a finer country for beaver never seen; if the war tribes do not oblige me to change quarters, we shall do well. Today 27 beaver.
Monday, April 3d. We are not more than two miles from Benoit's grave,(20) who was killed this season last year. Large head of buffalo seen near camp.
Tuesday, April 4th. Blackfeet seen near camp, but secreted themselves. These villains appear determined to watch every opportunity to steal our horses. Forty beaver today.
Friday, April 7th. Mr. McKay and man who went buffalo hunting arrived safe about 10 o'clock; had a narrow escape; saw the enemy at a distance and had full time to conceal themselves. So far well. Shortly after four of the party in pursuit of the Snakes arrived; starvation obliged them to return; they have seen the track of a war party; we are surrounded on all sides by enemies; if we escape, we shall be lucky; little done towards progress home; obliged to keep on our guard. One beaver.
Saturday, April 8th. Early this morning upwards of 100 Indians came; many strange faces. We did not allow them to come too near our camp; many are well armed, but not stocked with ammunition; one of the trappers was again pursued by the Blackfeet; these rascals will not allow us to remain quiet till an example be made of some of them. Some meat dried today for the journey home.
Sunday, April 9th. Forty Blackfeet seen near camp; we did not allow them to enter; traded horse slings from them. About 10 a.m. we were surprised by the arrival of a party of Americans and some of our deserters of last year, 28 in all. If we were surprised they were more so from an idea that the threats of last year would have prevented us from returning to this quarter, but they find themselves mistaken; they camped a short distance away; all quiet. With the glass we could observe Blackfeet scattered about the hills watching our motions. Five beaver.
Monday, April 10th. The second watch gave us a start from our beds, Mr. McKay having fired on an Indian detected in the act of stealing a horse. This fellow will not make another attempt. The strangers paid me a visit and I had a busy day settling with them, and more to my satisfaction and the Company's than last year. We traded from them 93 large and small beaver and two otter seasoned skins at a reasonable rate and received 81.12(21) beavers in part payment of their debts due the company, also two notes of hand from Mr. Monton (Montain) for his balance, Patrick Prudhomme and Pierre Sinanitogans.(22) We secured all the skins they had. Our deserters are already tired of their new masters and from their manner will soon return to us. They promised to reach the Flatheads this fall. I cannot imagine how the Americans can afford to sell their beaver to reap profit when they pay $3 per pound for coarse or fine, but such is the case.
Tuesday, April 11th. Separated from the Americans. They ascended the stream; we descended. Goddin's son, having requested to join his father, and being a worthless scamp, I gave him his liberty, the Americans having advanced three beaver to make up his debt. Young Findlay has joined our camp, a Canadian by name Lounge has joined with traps and horses. Not one of our party appeared the least inclined to desert; so much to their credit.
Thursday, April 15th. The Piegan chief will leave us tomorrow; he tells us we cannot be too much on our guard; that we are surrounded by war parties.
Saturday, April 15th. Weather mild, wind strong. The Piegans have set fire to the plains to destroy us or collect war parties to surround us.
Saturday, April 22d. Guard informs us three halfbreeds are bent on desertion. I secured their horses, arms and blankets. They do not relish the idea of a journey on foot and followed us; one of them, for his impudence, received a drubbing from me. We camped within two miles of the American Falls.
Saturday, April 29th. Twelve buffalo killed for provisions back.
Saturday, May 6th. Over hilly, stony country, bare of wood to Raft River; began to snow and continued the greater part of the night. Many of the trappers came in, almost froze, naked as the greater part are, and destitute of shoes, it is surprising not a murmur or complaint do I hear; such men are worthy of following Franklin. Two-thirds without a blanket or any shelter, and have been so for the last six months. Thirty-four beaver today.
Tuesday, May 9th. Half the camp ill from meat of beaver fat from eating hemlock.
Sunday, May 21st. The Snakes inform us a party of Americans, about 30 in number, has descended this stream on their return from Salt lake, without beaver; this agrees with the account of Mr. Montain.
Tuesday, May 23d. We saw the corpse of an Indian lying on the plains. The Snakes have a mode of burying their dead different from all other natives; where he falls be is allowed to remain, without a grave or covering; a feast for the wolves and crows; nor is any ceremony observed or grief of long duration; how pleasant to part with friends without regretting them. The Snakes have one advantage over us; I envy them.
Friday, June 2d. Proceeded but a short distance when we met with a Snake; this Indian I saw last year on Bear's River;(23) it was this rascal who headed the party who pillaged us two years ago. He also headed the party who murdered nine Americans and pillaged all their property, and last year again pillaged the Americans of all they had.
Saturday, June 3d. Mr. Dears started from Indian tent in the hope of trade, but without success. In fact, with the Snakes, you must take them by surprise; take their property ere they have time to secure it, and recompense them for it. By any other means, you cannot obtain anything from them, so averse are they to trade provisions, nor do I blame them in such a wretched country; nor would they remain in this quarter, but the dread of losing their scalps. They are surrounded on all sides by enemies; are at peace with Flatheads and Nez Perces, but have the Crows, the Utas, the Saskatchewan tribes to guard against.
Friday, June 8th. Had a visit from the Snakes. Within the last 10 months they have plundered 180 traps from the Americans and guns, knives and other articles. This, with 13 men murdered in 1825, is sufficient to make them independent of trade. The Americans swear to make an example of them; I do hope from my soul they may.
Saturday, June 10th. We started at an early hour; one of the trappers reports that yesterday he saw a party of Indians, 30 in number, who, on seeing him, went off at full speed and took to the mountains. Some are of the opinion they have killed our men left here, or suspect us to be Americans. I feel most anxious about the six men we were to find in this quarter; so far no tidings of them; this gives me hope they are safe; by the route we are taking we cannot be long without hearing from them; I only hope we shall find them alive and well loaded with beaver; we require all to make up our three thousand.(24) Saw a family of Indians on the move; they had no horses and are well loaded - men, women and children with roots; they endeavored to escape from us. They were allowed to pass without molestation. This is the season of roots in this quarter the bitter and another a good substitute for flour, if it were dried. The seed of the sunflower they also collect for food, but it does not appear to be common here. Six beaver from 50 traps today; course, northwest north, 14 miles.
Sunday, June 11. We have every cause to apprehend some treachery from suspicious manner of the Indians. At this season beaver are not easily taken. The bait of castoreum is no inducement as they discharge this castoreum, abandon the female to the young and will live on grass till the sap of the trees ceases flowing and flowers from blooming, when they commence preparing their winter habitation; they are at present very shy. Our last party were to have ascended Sandwich Island River and to have trapped it; and I am surprised not to see them. I rewarded our guide to the amount of eight skins, Indian tariff, and he was highly pleased. Mr. McKay discovered some Snake Indians concealed in the hills, no doubt to steal our horses. This day 44 beaver, which enables us once more to feast. The discontent was dispelled. Gaiety reigns in camp.
Monday, June 12th. Last night we were alarmed by the guide calling out "Thieves." An Indian was seen near the horses, but made his escape; had he delayed two hours longer, when all the camp would have been asleep, he would have succeeded; it will have a good effect on the men. Canadians in general require an alarm every few days to keep on guard. Some of our traps were stolen last night; suspect men ( ?) the camp's. This day we finished our second thousand beaver. If our absent men are safe I trust them to add a thousand more.
Wednesday, June 14th. We trust to chance now as we have no guide and all are equally ignorant of this country. Two Snake Indians, well-mounted, came boldly to camp; they gave us some idea of the road, and no tiding of our absent men. God grant no accident has befallen them.
Thursday, June 15th. All along our route this day the plains were covered with women digging roots; at least 10 bushels were traded by our party; the men (Indians) all gone to join the Fort Nez Perces Indians. Reached a fork of Owyhee River. Still no account of our men.
Sunday, June 18th. The stones are as sharp as flints; our tracks could be followed by the blood from our horses' feet.
Monday, June 2&h. Very evident our absent men have passed here; Burnt River, but how long since we could not from the tracks discover. Tomorrow I shall separate from my party leaving Messrs. McDonald, McKay and Dears to proceed to Nez Perces and then go to Fort Vancouver in boats with the furs. The appointment to meet Gervais on July 15th is the cause of my going. Our horses are in a low state to undertake it, but I cannot abandon my men and must see if they be dead or alive.
Thursday, June 29th. Separated(25) this morning for my camp of February 3d. Saw tracks and hopes of our men, but found a bit of Spanish blanket which makes me conclude this must be the path of Snakes.
Tuesday, July 1st, Reached the waters of Day's River; a bad road from trees lying crosswise.
Saturday, July 8th. Encamped on waters of Willamette.
Sunday, July 16th. Arrived at Willamette River at 2 P.M., where we found a freeman encamped. The man can accommodate us with a canoe. I was happy to learn our friends on the Columbia are safe and well, and Sylvaille and party safely arrived, but no word of Gervais and party.
Monday, July 17th. Embarked; arrived at falls at 10; exchanged our two canoes for a large one. I should suppose the height of the falls to be about 45 feet. We reached Ft. Vancouver a little after sunset; received by Dr. McLoughlin with every mark of attention. Distance from where I started this morning to Ft. Vancouver is 56 miles. With the exception of the falls not a ripple to be seen; a finer stream than the Willamette is not to be found; soil good; wood of all kinds in abundance; roots, elk, deer, salmon and sturgeon abundant; man could reside here and with but little industry enjoy every comfort. The distance from the ocean is 90 miles. No doubt ere many years a colony will be formed on the stream, and I am of opinion it will, with little care, flourish, and settlers, by having a seaport so near them, with industry, might add greatly to their comforts and to their happiness. Thus ends my second trip and I am thankful for the many dangers I have escaped with all my party in safety. Had we not been obliged to kill our horses for food, the success of our expedition would have yielded handsome profits as it is fortunately no loss will be sustained.
FINAL EDITORIAL NOTE.
We are fortunate in having a statement of the exact returns of this expedition, as made up after the arrival at Ft. Vancouver of both Mr. Ogden by way of the Willamette and his furs by way of the Columbia. It is given in a letter written by Dr. John McLoughlin to John McLeod, the original of which is now in the Dominion Archives of Canada at Ottawa, as follows: "Fort Vancouver 8th August, 1826. Enclosed is a copy of the Snake Expedition A/C current; ...... 2740 Large Beaver W't 4285 lbs. 837 small Beaver w't 551 lbs. 114 Large Otter 9 small Otter 3 Misquash 12 Beav'r Coating apparent gain L2,533-18.
(Sgd) John McLoughlin."
1. Mr. Dears, a clerk; not to be confounded with Mr. Dease, who was a chief trader.
2. Fort Walla Walla.
3. Perhaps intended for Utalla in Original Journal, Umatilla River.
4. Mr. Black, then in charge at Fort Walla Walla, but murdered at Kamloops in 1841.
5. Finan Mc Donald. See Introduction.
6. Des Chutes River
7. Fifteen Mile Creek
8. Mt. Adams, from near Tygh Valley.
9. Thomas McKay, a sure shot at Indians; son of Alexander McKay, of the Astor party.
10. In neighborhood of Warm Springs Indian Agency
11. On headwaters of eastern branch of Des Chutes River.
12. Blue Mountain Range.
13. Next three days evidently crossing the divide from head of John Day River to head of Burnt River.
14. Snake River, east of Huntington.
15. Sandwich Islanders; Owyhee River named after them.
16. Fort Boise of Hudson's Bay Company, afterwards in the same vicinity.
17. Afterwards a settler on French Prairie, between Aurora and Salem, Marion County.
18. On north side of Snake River.
19. On south side of Snake River.
20. Indicted on map as south side of Snake River.
21. Eighty-one pounds, twelve shillings.
23. Probably the date of Mr. Ogden's first trip to Great Salt Lake.
24. Confirms note on entry of April 10th.
25. Mr. Ogden himself with small party proceeds west across Blue Mountain Range and Central Oregon and the Cascade Range to Willamette River by some route. He evidently had never before seen the Willamette as far south as that. His men and furs proceed direct to Ft. Walla Walla by way of Powder River and Grand Ronde Valley, as usual.